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Trees, DVDs and Other Big Hudson Square Achievements in 2010

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Today our week of Curbed Awards will conclude with a look at some of the biggest neighborhood stories of the year, but the Hudson Square Connection?the BID group tasked with branding Hudson Square as a real neighborhood?has already beaten us to the punch when it comes to the part of town many people still refer to as West Soho, or HoTunA, despite receiving stern lectures whenever they do so. The BID just put out a press release celebrating the "year of creative firsts for Hudson Square," and it's a fascinating read. Now that the glorified office park has "fresh trees" and 50 new street banners, how can anyone continue to cruelly deny Hudson Square its existence? Like the people of Kosovo have told the United Nations: Y'all better recognize!

Here are 2010's neighborhood achievements, courtesy of the Hudson Square Connection:

As part of its ongoing effort to brand the district, in 2010 the Hudson Square Connection: * Selected a streetscape design team - Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects will lead an all-star team in the design of a vibrant, green streetscape that will include open spaces which encourage social interaction and staying activities in the public realm. The goal of this program is to prioritize the environment for pedestrians thereby enhancing retail opportunities while making connections between Hudson Square and its neighboring districts;

* Implemented traffic management improvements – Completed a basic traffic management study to harmonize relations between Hudson Square pedestrians, Holland tunnel-bound motorists and local bicyclists. Examples of traffic management improvements made thus far include:

o In May Community Board 2 (CB2) adopted a resolution in support of immediate actions to improve pedestrian safety at five locations along Varick Street identified by the Hudson Square Connection.
o The Hudson Square Connection brought the Department of Transportation and the Port Authority together to remove delineators that interfere with cross walks along Varick Street.
o Department of Transportation traffic agents have taken control of the Watts and Varick Street intersection during PM-rush hours. To help clear Watts Street of the line of buses, temporary bollards are being put up to separate the bus lane and to give buses priority when they get to Varick Street.

* Launched the Connection Card – A district-wide incentive program offering local workers exclusive discounts and promotions at participating Hudson Square retailers, restaurants and attractions. The program is a free benefit that encourages these employees to support the neighboring businesses in their area;

* Lined the district with fresh trees – As part of a continuous effort to green the district, 67 live trees have been planted to date throughout Hudson Square. In addition, during the holiday season, the Hudson Square Connection decked Varick Street with dozens of fresh, holiday trees and building tenants decorated them in ways that distinctly represented the character of their businesses and the district;

* Unveiled 50 new street banners - These vibrant banners line Hudson Square’s streets, identifying the neighborhood and displaying the words “work,” “play” and “connect. They also feature 2D scans that, when photographed with a smartphone, lead to more information about the district;

* Launched a fully redesigned website – now serves as a portal where members and visitors to the community can connect and further explore the district; and

* Produced a Hudson Square DVD – In an effort to expand outreach to brokers and potential tenants, the Connection together with Edelman produced an informational DVD to tell the story of what it is like to work, play and connect in the Hudson Square neighborhood.

What a year for the little church-owned neighborhood that could! Then again, when a neighborhood needs a customer loyalty card, is it really a neighborhood?
· Hudson Square Connection [Official Site]
· New Identities Pitched for Troublesome Hudson Square [Curbed]